Nonhuman Animals

in the Age of Extinction and Mass Production

A critical examination of the paradoxical situation of nonhuman animal life in the age of mass extinction and mass production. This interdisciplinary Animal Studies & Environmental Humanities conference will be hosted online on 16 May 2024 and in person at the UCD Science Hub on 17 May 2024

Conference Call

The call for presentations has now closed. However, we welcome submissions for poster abstracts until 22 April 20024. The final poster with the added QR code should be sent to us by 1 May 2024 to allow for printing and collection. These posters will be displayed at the conference venue and linked to this website. For more information, see the CFP and the FAQ.

Nonhuman Animals in the Age of Extinction and Mass Production Conference Poster

The Nonhuman Animals in the Age of Extinction and Mass Production conference will critically examine the paradoxical situation of nonhuman animal life in the age of mass extinction and mass production. The conference theme addresses one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity and other animals in the context of the climate crisis and the global capitalist system: the destruction of habitats and exploitation of animals that drives both extinction and consumption. It will explore how literature and other cultural productions criticise and rethink the ethical, ecological and social implications of this scenario, fostering a dialogue between Animal Studies and Environmental Humanities, two interdisciplinary fields that share concerns but also have tensions and are rarely in direct conversation with each other.

Conference Provocations

Animal Studies, Extinction Studies and Environmental Humanities all have a strong focus on cultural critique, conservation and alternative ways of interspecies co-existence to build and protect ecosystem resilience to ensure human and animal survival. Yet, the main tension lies in ethical questions around the place of the animal in this, taking either an animal liberation or ecosystem protection approach (Ursula Heise, Dominic O’Key, Troy Vettese, John Miller). Nonhuman Animals in the Age of Extinction and Mass Production hopes to scrutinise and transgress the borders of these already interdisciplinary areas of study to advance a critical awareness of the ethical, ecological, and social implications of our interactions with other animals in various contexts and domains. 

Interrogating human-animal relations and imagining more emancipatory ways to organise environments, the event seeks to create the groundwork for an international Animal Studies Research Network to be based within the UCD Environmental Humanities research strand and will help connect scholars in Ireland working in this field with international networks.

Keynote Speakers

Sarah Bezan Image

Dr Sarah Bezan

Dr Sarah Bezan is a Lecturer in Literature and the Environment at the School of English & Digital Humanities, University College Cork, and a founding member of the Radical Humanities Laboratory. Her research broadly centres on the intricate interplay between social dynamics and ecological aspects related to species loss and revival in contemporary settler colonial literature and digital media/arts. Dr Bezan’s scholarship in the field of Extinction Studies was sparked during a paleo-dig at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. Her forthcoming monograph Dead Darwin: Necro-Ecologies in Neo-Victorian Culture examines how twentieth and twenty-first century authors and artists reimagine Darwin’s thinking on decompositional processes through the necro-ecological agency of earthworms, snails, corals, fish, and fungi. Dr Bezan is currently working on another book that delves into the “next natures” of the biotechnologically revived woolly mammoth, affectionately dubbed the “mammophant.” She is the co-editor of Animal Remains (Palgrave, 2022) and Seeing Animals After Derrida (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018).

Dr John Miller's profile picture

Dr John Miller

Dr John Miller is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Sheffield. His research interests include writing about animals, ecology and empire from the nineteenth century to the present, with particular emphasis on the late Victorian period. Dr Miller’s first monograph, Empire and the Animal Body (Anthem, 2012), explored the representation of exotic animals in Victorian and Edwardian adventure fiction. He has also co-edited several influential volumes, including The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature (Springer International Publishing, 2021) and Literature and Meat Since 1900 (Palgrave, 2019). Dr Miller’s scholarly endeavors extend beyond academia, as he actively engages in public outreach and educational initiatives related to literature and culture. He is  the President of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (UK & Ireland); co-director of the Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre and co-editor of Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature.

Conference Programme

16 May: Online-only day

12:45: Welcome & opening remarks

13:00 – 14:00: Panel 1:  Extinction Media: Moving image animals in an era of species eradication (Chair: TBD)

Benjamín Schultz-Figueroa, Seattle University: Wild and Tame: Animal Aesthetics as Pathos or Alienation

Pao-chen Tang, University of Sydney: Funeral Every Afternoon: Grieving for and with Animals through Animation

Yiman Wang, University of California, Santa Cruz: Extinction Countdown: the Impossible Mission of Imaging ‘Living Fossil’

14:00 – 15:00 Panel 2: Marine creatures in the age of overproduction (Chair: TBD)

Massimiliano Fantò, University of Milan-Bicocca: (Un)Contaminated Relationships in a Contaminated World: human-animal proximities in the era of Ecological Disenchantment

Shuyang Shi, University of Pittsburgh: The Final Gift of the Goddess of the Yangtze River: Animal Conservation in China After the Extinction of the Yangtze River Dolphin

Yafei Wang, University of Edinburgh: When species meet in life and death: ecologies of death in Seafood Markets – A study of Si-ji-mei (Wuhan Huanan Seafood Market’s shelter) and Shetland fishing community

15:00 – 15:30: Break

15:30 – 16:30 Panel 3: Narrating animals in literary works (Chair: TBD)

Bidyum Medhi, Johns Hopkins University: To the Elephant Graveyard: Intersecting Boundaries and Interspecies Conflict in Prabhat Goswami’s ‘Stride of the White Tusker’

Christine Kan Yuen Yee, City University of Hong Kong: Speaking Animal: Narratology of Dialogues in 21st Century Animal Narratives

17 May: In-person day at UCD Science Hub, Room 1.51

9:15: Registration and coffee

9:30 – 9:45: Welcome/Opening remarks

9:45 – 11:00: Plenary speech by Dr. Sarah Bezan: Rekindling Fictions and the Thermocultures of Extinction (Chair: TBD)

11:00 – 11:15: Break

11:15 – 12:15: Panel 1: Considering Companion Animals/Animals as Pets (Chair: TBD)

Luba Kozak, University of Regina (Canada): Performing Domestication: Exotic Pets in Early Modern British Portraiture

Wes Sampias, Johns Hopkins University: Culling Kyoto: The Enthronement Ceremonies of Taisho, Rabies, and Urban Change in Modern Japan

Yujin Shin, University of Minnesota—Twin Cities: Navigating Temporal Landscapes: Animals, Flânerie, and Recursive Narratives in Urban Modernity

12:15 – 1:15: Lunch

1:15 – 2:15: Panel 2: Literary Animals (Chair: TBD)

Valentina Romanzi, University of Turin: The Elephant in the Room: Animal Value(s) in The Only Harmless Great Thing

Lisa Bölinger, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen: The Stench of Suburban Sprawl: Canine Phenomenology and Fabular Environmental Writing in Daniel Mannix’s The Fox and the Hound

Chiara Stefanoni, University of Lüneburg: Breaking Down the Wall of Flesh: Blurring the Human-Animal Distinction in the Slaughterhouse through Ivano Ferrari’s Poetry

2:15 – 2:30: Break

2:30 – 3:30: Panel 3: Animal Commodification and Reproduction (Chair: TBD) 

Deborah Schrijvers, University College Dublin: Panda Moonwalk: Resisting Giant Panda Reproductive Regimes

Poulomi Choudhury, University College Dublin: Conceptualising Legacy and Reproduction in Agustina Bazterrica’s Tender is the Flesh

Lucy Maun, University College London: Ghosts in the Machine: How digital twins preserve, commodify, and reproduce endangered species

3:30 – 3:40: Break

3:40 – 4:40: Panel 4: Resisting, Displaying and Reviving Extinctions (Chair: TBD)

Cormac Cleary, University of Edinburgh: Biological and Cultural Endangerment and Competition on the Verge of Extinction

Miranda Cichy, University of Glasgow: Dead or alive: decay and animation in extinction taxidermy

Betlem Pallardo Azorin, Universitat de València: Nazis, Cows, Rewilding: Representation of Aurochs in Hitler’s Jurassic Monsters and Her Name Was Europa

4:40 – 4:50: Break

4:50 – 6:15: Plenary speech by Dr. John Miller: Between Animal and Ecological Futures (Chair: TBD)

6:15 onwards: Closing statements & Reception and finger food 

Principal Organisers​

Poulomi Choudhury

Poulomi Choudhury

Poulomi Choudhury is an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholar and an HI Resident Scholar in UCD’s Environmental Humanities research strand. Her doctoral project explores the role of animal agriculture and meat in the current and ongoing climate crisis through an analysis of twenty-first-century literary works. Poulomi holds a BA in English Literature and was awarded the Government of Ireland Scholarship to complete her MPhil in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. She holds another Masters in Cultural Studies. Her research interests include food studies, critical animal studies, vegan studies, gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, and critical race theory.

Deborah Schrijvers

Deborah Schrijvers​

Deborah Schrijvers is an Ad Astra PhD scholar at UCD, in the School of English, Drama and Film as part of the Environmental Humanities strand. She holds a Bachelor in Philosophy and Literary Studies, and a Research Master in Literary Studies. For her PhD project, she researches visual extinction narratives and temporalities with an emphasis on gender, race and decolonisation in contemporary and transnational film and art. She has recently been the recipient of an EARTH fellowship at the University of Edinburgh (April-June 2023) and is currently an affiliate researcher at Network for Environmental Humanities at Utrecht University (September 2023 – February 2024). Additionally, she is UCD Environmental Humanities’ Research Assistant and copy editor at the human-animal studies journal Humanimalia.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the poster submission entail?

If your research resonates with the themes of the conference and you are, perhaps, unable to attend in person, we welcome you to submit a poster on your research. This will be uploaded on this website and prominently displayed at the conference venue throughout the day for attendees to view during breaks and lunch.

To be considered for having your poster at the venue, please send us a 300-400 word project description and your bio first. If accepted, we will send you a unique link. This link can be made into a QR code and added to your poster. When designing your poster, keep this in mind so you can incorporate the scannable code.

The QR code on your poster, when scanned, will link to this conference website where your poster, project description, and bio will be housed. You do not have to speak or present the project represented by your poster. Instead, attendees and online visitors can read about your project on the website. You can, of course, add additional relevant links to the project description as well.

Can I see some examples of how this poster could look like? 

We are looking for visually striking, creative, and innovative posters that can effectively communicate your research in an engaging and novel manner. Let your imagination guide you! You can view the posters created for the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute ECR Research Poster Showcase here or the University of York Humanities Research Centre poster competition winners here for inspiration and to give you an idea of posters you can create. The University of York page also has additional useful resources that you might want to look at. 

I have registered as an in-person attendee. Can I still submit a poster?

Of course! We encourage anyone to submit a poster. On the day, you will have the opportunity to discuss your project with other attendees during breaks. You’re also welcome to take your poster home with you afterwards!

What is the size of the poster? 

Your poster will be printed in an A2 format: 420 x 594 mm or 16.5 x 23.4 inches. You can design your poster in PowerPoint. To begin, go to Design and  Page set up. In the drop-down menu for ‘slides size’, choose ‘custom’, enter the dimensions for A2 paper (42.0 and 59.4 cm) and then select portrait or landscape. When your poster is finished, go to File > Save and Send > Create PDF/XPS Document. 

What is the deadline for the poster or the project description and bio?

Ideally, we would like to have this as soon as possible. However, please send us the project description and bio to us no later than 22 April 2024. Once confirmed, we will send you the QR code. The final poster with the added QR code should be sent to us by 1 May 2024 to allow for printing and collection. 

I would like to be considered for an overnight support bursary to cover my accommodation. What do I need to do?

The UCD College of Arts and Humanities and the UCD Humanities Institute have generously granted us funding to cover accommodation for some of our speakers and attendees. This bursary scheme is intended to develop Animal Studies networking for scholars. A limited number of awards are available. The bursary will prioritise applicants who do not already have relevant research or travel funding that could be used to attend this event.

Please fill out this application form by 13 March 2024 to be considered for this funding. 

What does the bursary cover?

The award covers one night’s accommodation (16-17 May) in a Dublin city centre hotel booked by us.

Do I need to present at the conference to be considered for this bursary?

No, you do not need to present any research at the event, but you will be expected to attend the full event and participate in discussions.

Can I attend the conference on both days, 16 and 17 May?

Yes, of course. The presentations delivered on 16 May are online only. The papers on 17 May will take place in person at the UCD Science Hub. You can register on Eventbrite to attend the sessions on both days in any mode. 

Do you have any suggestions for vegan restaurants in Dublin?

This list on the Happy Cow website has a number of fantastic recommendations. For quick bites, we can also recommend The Saucy Cow in Temple Bar, and It’s A Trap on Angier Street. V-Face in Stoneybatter (a lovely and popular neighbourhood) offers student discounts and is another good food option. 

How do I get to the UCD Science Hub?

Here’s a link to the various available transport links to the campus. This direction on Moovit might also be helpful.  UCD is well-connected by buses. Keep in mind that buses only accept exact change in Euros. 

Supported by